Forgotten Author of the Week - Spencer Johnson

Spencer Johnson is known for his 1998 motivational book, Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. I remember this book because when they restructured my company, they forced all the employees to read this book. Little did I know that Spencer Johnson was the same author to pen a beloved children's biography series from the 1970's.

The Value Tales is a series of simple biographical children's books publishes primarily by the now defunct Value Communications, Inc. There were over 40 books in the series. Thirty of those by Ann Donegan Johnson from 1977-1997. Fifteen were authored by Spencer Johnson from 1977-1988. Each book gave a simple and slightly fictional biography of a historical figure that would also serve as an allegory for a particular value. The glossy hardback books used to line the bookshelf of my library with brightly colored characters. The books had titles like The Value of Determination: The Story of Helen Keller, The Value of Believing in Yourself: The Life of Louis Pasteur, The Value of Love: The Story of Johnny Appleseed. A new company has been reprinting the books since 2007. I should restate that the books are mostly true. In some of the books the story is completely accurate, but the authors often took creative license with what the person said, thoughts, and dialogue. Even so, I will never forget the Louis Pasteur story and did panic when someone mentioned that these Value books were inaccurate. I ran to my nearest Encyclopedia and was relieved to see that all the details I remembered about Pasteur's life were just as I had learned them.